Attorney Doubts Client’s Competency; Robbery Trial Postponed for Psych Evaluation

By Jake Romero

FRESNO, CA — A man accused of robbery, battery and assault had his trial postponed Monday here at the Fresno County Superior Courthouse so he can be psychiatrically evaluated before his next court date.

Defense Attorney Alexandria De La Fuente requested the evaluation for her client, Joe Bejarano, Jr., after submitting a declaration of doubt on Sunday regarding the man’s competency to stand trial.

The declaration stated that the defense did not actually observe or hear Bejarano make any statements or behave in any concerning way.

De La Fuente said she was concerned about the accused’s willingness to move forward with a trial that could result in a lengthy prison sentence.

Judge Sanderson said she found this reasoning “disturbing” because it is Bejarano’s legal right to pursue a trial.

De La Fuente clarified that she spoke with the accused’s wife and mother who said Bejarano had not been taking medications—for a condition first diagnosed in 2011—for an “unknown, unstated amount of time.”

The defense referred to the ailment as a “serious medical condition” but did not specify the diagnosis.

The court acknowledged that the trial should have begun today, but nonetheless granted the defense’s request, given the family’s reports.

Bejarano will be evaluated by a court-appointed psychiatrist before his next hearing March 16.

About The Author

Jake is a senior at UC Berkeley studying English & Journalism.

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